The Worship Quote of the Week for (07/21/2009):

Reading Scripture with Care
There is a health update at the end of this message.
Please see the note below about music/worship study at
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
is still available at

The apostle Paul instructed the young trainee pastor, Timothy, in many things. The apostle wrote, "Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching" (1 Tim. 4:13). Any serious Christian pastor or worship leader wants the gathered worship of the congregation to be faithful to the truths of Scripture, clearly instructing men, women, and children in the values of the kingdom of God. Todayís WORSHIP QUOTE is from an essay in the new ESV STUDY BIBLE. Here are some helpful paragraphs on the importance of reading Scripture in public worship, and reading it with care. Highly recommended.

Every Bible-believing church must give preeminence to Scripture in its public services of worship. This means that the Scripture that is to be expounded should be read aloud, and should be set forth in its full context. After all, the reading of God's Word is the one place where we can be sure that we are hearing God. Responsive readings can be beneficial because they involve the congregation in voicing the sacred text.

There is substantial wisdom in keeping to the apostolic church's custom of reading passages from the OT and NT in pairs, as it were, because this practice weekly reaffirms the continuity of the two Testaments, encourages biblical theology, and counters the tendencies of many today to pit the Testaments against each other. It also substantially contributes to the service as a service of the Word in its unity and fullness.

Congregational response to the reading with a hearty "Amen!" or the time-honored "Thanks be to God" can further elevate the corporate assent to the centrality and authority of God's Word. Jerome said of the congregational "Amen" in his day that at times it "seemed like a crack of thunder." How glorious and how good for the soul!

Of course, such attention to God's Word can also prove ineffective if the reading itself is left to a last-minute assignment, such that the reader fails to prepare mentally and spiritually for what he or she is required to do. All of us have heard the Scriptures abused by a reader who hasn't the faintest idea of what he is reading, or by reading too fast, or mispronouncing common words, or by losing his place. This is not to suggest that the Scripture is to be read as dramatically as possible or performed as a reader's theater. But how God-honoring it is to read God's Word well, with a prayerful spirit. Pastors and readers can serve their congregations well by prayerfully reading the text a dozen times with pencil in hand BEFORE reading it to God's people.

-- ESV STUDY BIBLE, ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION. Wheaton: Crossway Bibles, 2008, p. 2575. Library of Congress Catalogue Number 2008020094. Highly recommended.

Perhaps you have heard about the recent changes in music study at Southern Seminary. I canít tell you how many people have contacted me, asking if I would come teach somewhere else since my job had been terminated. FUNNY! Here is the real story: The School of Church Music and Worship and the Leadership School at SBTS have been brought into a single school which is now called The School of Church Ministries. Dr. Thomas Bolton is stepping down as dean (after nine years), and he will continue to teach after a well-deserved sabbatical. I have been granted tenure and look forward to getting back to the classroom and the podium this semester. I will continue to serve as the director of the Institute for Christian Worship. Dr. Esther Crookshank has been named director of the new Academy of Sacred Music that will oversee the Seminary Music Academy, the R. Inman Johnson Concert Series, and certain lectures on hymnology and the like. Dr. Douglas Smith plans to retire in December. Dr. Greg Brewton will oversee the music portion of the new school. Dr. Ronald Turner and Dr. Sandra Turner are still here and going strong. That gives you a little glimpse of things ahead. We are still admitting students and look forward to many, many years of training church musicians for service in the Lord's precious church. Please pray for us and let me hear from you if there are prospective students whom I should contact (


Dear Praying Friends,

There are photos and longer journal entries at See also for past updates and comments.

I continue on the slow road towards regaining my full strength. My stamina is improving. Beginning this week, I have been able to sleep right through the night. I am taking fewer and shorter naps (Except on Sunday afternoons. That is still a long one.) I am still taking long walks with the dogs and even jogging a bit. (Note: This would not qualify as running.) I will visit the cancer clinic again on August 14. Over all, we are rejoicing in the great results of the treatment and in my progress towards a full schedule of activities. Join us in thanking God for these significant blessings.

Please read the important note above about the recent changes in music and worship studies at our seminary.

Thanks for praying for my full and PERMANENT recovery.

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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